After stopping just short of 4.5m when it reached the roof, it finally flowered last September and was identified by our Assistant Curator Angela as Agave vivipara.
The seedlings of this species of Agave germinate on the plant – as you’ll see in these pictures. This is known as vivipary – hence it’s Latin name.
The spike has remained in its flowering place for a whole year until recently, when our Glasshouse team finally cut it down.
They’ve removed all the germinated seedlings and collected them in a bucket which is now sitting at our Brookside exit for visitors to take home and grow their own agave.
The giant spike is now happily strung up and suspended in the team’s potting shed – their own botanical homage equivalent to the iconic Fin Whale suspended in our sister museum, the Museum of Zoology here in Cambridge!